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Windows 3.1 / Windows 3.11 / Windows for Workgroups 3.11 Tips

SVGA driver

The included Super VGA drivers with Windows 3.1x don't work on modern hardware. They are not VESA compatible for some odd reason. Windows for Workgroups 3.11 includes a "svga256.drv" that is used for the Super VGA 256-color modes. This must be patched to work with modern video cards. Here is the driver file for Wfw 3.11 users - replace your existing \windows\system\svga256.drv with it. If you have Windows (not Workgroups) 3.1/3.11, you can download the entire driver in standalone format (install it as an unlisted adapter). Then go to "Windows Setup" in the Main group and choose Options, Change System Settings. Select one of the modes identified with "Super VGA" and "256 colors". If one doesn't seem to work, try restarting (sometimes when messing with video modes, previous errors can interfere with what might be a perfectly functional configuration).


3Com 3C589 PCMCIA adapter

3Com supplies a NDIS2 driver on their second driver disk, available here. That is a self-extracting exe file. To install in Windows for Workgroups, go to the Network group in Program Manager and open Network Setup.


You want to click "Networks" and choose "Install Microsoft Windows Network". Then back on that "Network Setup" window, click "Drivers" and "Add Adapter". You will want to enter the location of the OEMSETUP.INF file, which is in the IBM_40 folder under where you extracted 3c589x_2.exe. If you are using a computer with a 500 MHz or faster processor, please see the file list at the end of this section for an important file.


Now we'll install TCP/IP. Download it from the file list at the end of this section. It is also a self-extracting EXE and will create a "tcp" folder under where you extracted it. Click "Add Protocol" in Network Setup and specify the path to the OEMSETUP.INF file in that tcp folder. When you are done, you can configure the TCP/IP settings by clicking on "Microsoft TCP/IP-32 3.11b" and choosing the "Setup" button. Be sure to click on TCP/IP and choose "Set As Default Protocol" as well. For most modern networks you will want TCP/IP and NetBEUI only.

Now there are some other issues. Make sure "C:\WINDOWS\net start" is in your autoexec.bat file (the network setup should have done this automatically). If you are using EMM386.EXE, you will want to edit the DEVICE= line in your config.sys and pass x=d000-dfff. Something like "DEVICE=C:\WINDOWS\EMM386.EXE x=d000-dfff noems". If you do not do this, you will find that the computer will freeze when it tries to find the PCMCIA network card. Also, there will be a file in the WINDOWS directory called PROTOCOL.INI. There is an [ELPC3] line. Under that, you can specify options such as which slot your network adapter is in. The default is SLOT=1. If you find that it's not detecting the card (you will see the output from the 'net start' in the autoexec file when you reboot), try swapping slots, either physically or change SLOT=1 to SLOT=2. If you get a message about no card services detected and it prompts you to press a key, you can remove that by adding a line: "PCMCIA_ENABLER=YES" under that [ELPC3] section. The 3Com drivers contain a "point enabler", that is you shouldn't need any card or socket services (cardware, cardsoft, phoenix manager, et cetera).

3Com/networking files

  • ELPC3.DOS - This is the actual NDIS2 driver for the 3Com 3c589 series. This version works on computers with fast CPUs (generally 500+ MHz). Use this if you are having errors with the version on the 3Com disk.
  • tcp32b.exe - Microsoft TCP/IP protocol. This is the latest version for Windows for Workgroups 3.11. You will need this as TCP/IP isn't included in Wfw 3.11 by default.